Tarot & Tequila: A Tarot Guide with Cocktails by David Ross
Published by: Tiller Press on July 13, 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook
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Twisted Love by Ana Huang
Series: Twisted #1 (can be read as standalone)
Published by: Boba Press on April 22, 2021
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you like possessive alphas and really dirty scenes.
He has a heart of ice…but for her, he’d burn the world.
Alex Volkov is a devil blessed with the face of an angel and cursed with a past he can’t escape.
Driven by a tragedy that has haunted him for most of his life, his ruthless pursuits for success and vengeance leave little room for matters of the heart.
But when he’s forced to look after his best friend’s sister, he starts to feel something in his chest:
A fire that could end his world as he knew it.
Ava Chen is a free spirit trapped by nightmares of a childhood she can’t remember.
But despite her broken past, she’s never stopped seeing the beauty in the world…including the heart beneath the icy exterior of a man she shouldn’t want.
Her brother’s best friend.
Her savior and her downfall.
Theirs is a love that was never supposed to happen—but when it does, it unleashes secrets that could destroy them both…and everything they hold dear.
Twisted Love is a brother’s best friend/opposites attract romance with a hint of suspense. It’s book one in the Twisted series but can be read as a standalone.
WARNING: This book contains a possessive alpha/antihero, explicit sexual content, and profanity. No cheating or ménage, but if you’re looking for a traditionally sweet, loveable hero, this is not the book for you. Recommended for 18+.
Ok, somebody needs to remind me how to write a book review because it has been way too long. It has been so long that, back then, I would never have admitted to a friend that I read a book that had s-e-x. GASP! Anyway, I’m a grown ass woman now, so I will own the fact that I am reading and reviewing a s-e-x-y book. Thanks for the recommendation, Michelle (@bookishmichelle)!
I have been on a new adult fantasy binge lately thanks to Blood & Ash (which also inspired a cocktail recipe), but I needed a standalone to warm me up for the ARCs I requested on NetGalley. Hence, Twisted Love, which caught my eye as an AAPI Own Voices book. I feel like I haven’t seen enough of the AAPI community reflected in new adult outside of Helen Hoang’s books. PLEASE RECOMMEND MORE TO ME! I love that being AAPI doesn’t define Ava as a character, but little bits of cultural nuance inform her thoughts:
“In Chinese culture, the number four is considered unlucky because the word for it sounds like the word “death.” Sì, four; sǐ, death. The only difference between their pronunciation is a tone inflection.
I’ve never been a superstitious person, but chills swamped me every time I awoke from one of my nightmares during the four a.m. hour, which was almost always.”
Also, YES PLEASE! Asian women can be sexy without being objectified! The sex in this book is kinky and aggressive, and I appreciate that the author did not have to justify Ava’s sexual preferences. There never needs to be a conversation about girls like Ava (e.g., Asian, stereotypically a “good girl”) being unexpectedly sexual (i.e., the Lotus Blossom). BECAUSE FEMININE SEXUALITY IS A THING THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU DIRTY! So, thanks Ana Huang for that sex positivity!
Honestly, AAPI representation aside, Twisted Love did not grab me from the start. Neither Ava nor Alex has a distinct voice, and I was still getting over the vague heebie jeebies because Alex’s name is a little too close to my dance partner’s. There was also one scene near the beginning that got my feminist senses tingling:
My stance on possessive males: 0 out of 10, do not recommend them IN REAL LIFE! Erotica and adult romance, however, allow women writing for women to explore sex positivity and fantasy. This is important because people belittle women for things they find attractive and entertaining. While depictions of healthy, realistic romance are very important, books like Twisted Love should be interpreted contextually. Don’t use them as a guidebook for real relationships, but, by all means, own what brings you joy!
Ok, mini rant over.
By the end, Twisted Love hooked me. I binged it in one sitting. The tsundere ones always get me in the end, and the sunshine/grumpy romance trope brings me too much joy. Ava melted him one red velvet cookie and bright smile at a time.
“There’s something beautiful waiting for you, Alex. Whether you find it tomorrow or years from now, I hope it’ll restore your faith in life. You deserve all the beauty and light in the world.”[…]
“There you go, romanticizing me again.” Alex didn’t move as I took another step toward him, but his eyes burned with intensity. “It’s too late for me, Sunshine. I destroy everything beautiful that comes into my life.”
Throw in some mafia-esque violence and protective takes on a whole new meaning. Somehow I expected a normal college romance, but I am not complaining! Dark, violent contemporaries are fun to read. I appreciate some good manipulation and betrayal. Real life is not dramatic enough.
The point where the book shifts away from normal college romance does not feel out of place, which surprised me. It makes the story feel unique, even though it uses several new adult tropes, and it set my expectation for the rest of the series. Twisted Love is a quick, entertaining read, and I am excited for Ana Huang’s future works. I expect fun, dark, and sexy things from Twisted Games, a princess/bodyguard romance (love this trope)!
Thank you for the support on Instagram for these book-themed cocktails, especially these Shadow & Bone ones! I have always loved coming up
Welcome to my cottage–er, blog!
I’m Dana, a self-identifying magical girl who *mostly* uses her powers for good. I am completely an utterly obsessed with books (especially romance), food, cats, and plants. Stay awhile, pick up a book, sip some tea, and say hello to my familiar, Alice.